Censure of IDF officer averts row with Denmark

IDF's quick disciplinary action against officer filmed hitting Danish protester with rifle, and condemnation of act from Netanyahu help stem tensions with Denmark, who immediately asked for explanation of incident.

April 16, 2012 18:43
1 minute read.
IDF officer hitting activist with M-16

IDF officer hitting activist with M-16 370. (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)


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A diplomatic incident with Denmark over an IDF officer who slammed the face of a Danish protester with his M16 rifle on Saturday was averted by the IDF’s quick disciplinary action against the officer and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s immediate condemnation, diplomatic officials said Monday.

In a statement posted on the website of Denmark’s Foreign Ministry, Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal said that “we do not yet know the circumstances surrounding the incident” and that Denmark’s ambassador to Israel Liselotte Kjærsgaard Plesner had “immediately asked the Israeli authorities for an explanation.”

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“I can see that the soldier involved was immediately suspended and the matter is now being investigated,” Sovndal said.

Sovndal also noted that Netanyahu had condemned the incident.

“We must all condemn the use of force, which apparently has occurred against the demonstrators,” Sovndal said.

On Sunday night, less than three hours after Channel 2 aired footage of the incident in which Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner, deputy commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade, is shown striking a civilian demonstrator, Netanyahu condemned the action and said such behavior had no place in the IDF or in Israel.

According to Foreign Ministry officials, Kjærsgaard Plesner phoned the ministry the next morning and asked for information about the incident and the steps Israel was taking. She said she would relay back to Copenhagen Netanyahu’s condemnation, as well as the IDF’s decision to suspend Eisner from his post and open an investigation.

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